Sacramento County-resident Lee Miller is a Board Member with Solar Rights Alliance, a statewide nonprofit association of California solar users including homeowners, renters, businesses, nonprofits and schools.
I’m not surprised by SDG&E, SCE, and PG&E’s latest power grab — a utility-backed proposal to charge rooftop solar owners a $60 monthly solar tax for putting solar panels on their rooftop. But I do expect Governor Newsom to take the side of the people. So where does our Governor stand?
Governor Gavin Newsom recently told reporters he believes “changes need to be made” to the proposal by California’s Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC), and that “We have work to do.”
But the Governor did not say what changes he supports, raising the question of why this isn’t a no-brainer for Gov. Newsom. Over 120,000 Californians, 600 nonprofits, schools, cities, and community leaders, and newspapers across the state have already told him what he ought to do — help millions of working and middle-class communities afford solar and batteries, and do not penalize people for making energy from the sun.
It is good the govenror is signaling that the current CPUC proposal is not acceptable, but we need him to say what he is for to correct for the damage that the CPUC proposal has already done. In addition to charging the highest solar tax in the country, the CPUC’s proposal would also slash by 80% the credit solar users receive for sharing their extra energy with the grid. The CPUC proposal also reduces protections for existing solar users, undermining consumer trust in making a solar investment.
Gov. Newsom’s leadership is needed now to save California solar, restore middle- and working-class trust in the state’s clean energy plans. People need to know that the governor has their back when it comes to rooftop solar and will help them take control over their energy bills and protect their families from blackouts.
It is no surprise that PG&E and their powerful union are pushing him to crush rooftop solar. That's what monopolies do.
And what leaders do in response is stick to their promises. In the case of Gov. Newsom, those are promises to fight climate change and help average people control their energy bills and avoid blackouts.
Gov. Newsom, the opportunity to be a hero is standing at your doorstep. What's your answer?